Posts Tagged ‘TMG’

Y’know five years back we reviewed the EP by Bitzer titled Oz Rock Six pack…you can hunt down that review on our blog – but I do wish to highlight a comment which my brother ended that review with – which stated ‘If you wanna taste of the glory days of Oz rock in 2013 – Bitzer deliver the goods in no uncertain terms. 10 out of 10′. Top marks there from my brother and high praise indeed – and if you one of those who purchased that EP, I’m sure you’ll be in agreeance that it was very well deserved. The good news is folks that in mid-2018 we have brand new material from Bitzer out and about and I gotta tell ya – this bunch of seasoned musicians have absolutely nailed it again. ‘Pedigree Mongrel’ is the name of the new album, a 10 song collection of some of the coolest and most iconic rock n roll tunage to ever come out of Australia.

Before we move on – I must highlight the fact that the players involved in this project are all top shelf, have a wealth of experience and boy does it show. Steve Mulry, Mick Arnold, Lucy De Soto, Steve King, Mick Adkins, Skenie, Mick O’Shea, Steve Edmonds…..

The names that are listed on their individual rock n roll resumes detailing their past outfits or bands they’ve played, recorded or been involved with – read like a chapter ripped straight from the Who’s Who of Australian Rock publication: Rose Tattoo, The Rogue Sharks, Billy Thorpe, Rose Carleo Band, The Poor, Black Label, Judge Mercy, Dragon, Choirboys, Judge Mercy, Kevin Borich, Swanee, TMG, The Pete Wells Band….I could go on but there’s no need as I’m sure you’ll agree – there’s some real heavyweights of Australian music namechecked amongst that gathering.

Countrymen, friends, lend me your ears because the song St Louis – which happens to be one of my all time favourite Easybeats tunes – kicks off ‘Pedigree Mongrel’ with great force and I cannot think of a better way to open the album. For me – it’s also a wonderful way to honour the great George Young who passed away in October of last year.  

Bitzer tackle ‘Down Payment Blues’ next with some raw, and inspired vocals by Skenie. It’s that very same sound – from that throat – which hooked me back in the very early 90’s when I first heard him and The Poor Boys on ‘What I’d Do (To get A Piece Of You)’. Love it. As a few of you out there might know drummer Mick O’Shea was apparently short-listed to replace Phil Rudd on the drum stool for AC/DC’s Rock Or Bust tour. The boys obviously went for the tried and tested and well credentialed Chris Slade – no complaints there. And no point in looking at what could’ve been but just let me state that if you listen to O’Shea’s thumping autodrive on ‘Down Payment Blues’ – he is on the beat and in the pocket. It’s there. 

Superman – an ace, lifted from the Vanda and Young deck was made famous by Alison McCallum back in 1972. It’s not an easy tune to tackle – yet on this version by Bitzer – Lucy De Soto’s vocals are spot on. Lucy’s got a strong voice – my brother at one point in time owned her two mid-80’s releases – it’s great stuff and she really makes this amped up version of ‘Superman’ her own. It’s Time – more people out there were aware of her.

Paul Hewson wrote or co-wrote some of Dragon’s best material – with many music fans considering Sunshine his finest moment. For me, this interpretation was the real surprise of the album – Mulry’s vocals, Steve Edmond’s lead guitar – I found the whole track downright mesmerising. Spend a quiet moment alone with this one via decent headphones and you’ll hopefully get what I mean. I just love this.

A faithful and tough-as-steel rendition of AC/DC’s ‘Bad Boy Boogie’ is up next and it cooks. Skenie again gives his all on this track and it’s great. So great that I’m calling this one of the most faithful takes of this song that you’re gonna hear. It’s pretty darn authentic yet it doesn’t in anyway ape the original found on Let there be Rock. Much of that authenticity is in part due to the well-oiled rhythm unit of King and O’Shea – a pair who know eachother’s playing inside out and it shows.

If you’ve always wondered what a heavied up version of Australian Crawl might sound like – then listen up. Bitzer once again hit the volume on Aussie Crawl’s ‘Things Don’t Seem’ – taken from their 1981 album Sirocco and crank the absolute hell of it. And that’s also what I love about an album like this – it makes you hear songs which you thought you knew so well – from a completely different angle – love it. Who knows, maybe Bitzer will take a stab at James Reyne’s Fall Of Rome in the future ?

Another of the highlights on ‘Pedigree Mongrel’ is a wonderful rendition of Spectrum’s I’ll Be Gone. Lucy De Soto’s vocals – combined with Mick Adkins stinging guitar give this a thumping country rock flavour and the results are what I’d call – catchy as all hell.

And this is just what I was just alluding to when looking over the Australian Crawl song…. you think you are familiar with a song like ‘I’ll be Gone’ and let’s face it, it gets played a helluva lot on the Golden Oldie stations here – but think again. Because the players in the Bitzer outfit will make you sit up and take notice of a song we all know so well. And in my book – that’s a pretty cool thing and I sure hope Mike Rudd gets to hear this version.

The tune – ‘I Remember When I Was Young’ written of course by Matt Taylor – is a track that suits Steve Mulry’s vocals so well – and it’s as if Taylor penned it with him in mind. John Farnham may’ve highlighted the tune on his 2005 songbook album, yet he didn’t do it justice like Bitzer do here and it gets the green light from me.

There is one further ‘Young, Young and Scott’ tune to check out and it’s a rollicking take of Dog Eat Dog. No need to reach for a thesaurus – this take kicks arse plan and simple and I reckon this foursome of Adkins, Skenie, King and O’Shea as a live unit could blow the doors off any live venue they played.  

The album closes out with a blazing and heavy-as-lead take of The Angels – Run For The Shelter, lifted from their often ignored 1984 album Two Minute Warning. If ever a song highlighted the vocal strength of Steve Mulry it’s this one – note perfect and in fine form on this gem penned by Rick Brewster and Brent Eccles.

To summarise – Blitzer once again have delivered the goods, breathing new life into some wonderful and well-known songs with an energy and passion which more people need to hear.

There is so much music being released these days – and it’s often the case that red hot rock n roll releases like this – often get lost in the frenzied world of social media. Once you check this material out – I just know you’re gonna want to spread the word about this album, because it really is damn good – and is deserving of more attention. Excuse the pun but ‘Pedigree Mongrel’ is ‘top dog’ amongst most other releases you’re gonna hear this year – highly recommended – and an album you need to ad to your rock n roll collection.


8521d6_ac1187ffe978438e9609187579ff7d28The sun has almost set on 2016, and one of the highlights of the year has been the reformation of the Ted Mulry Gang (TMG). The fact that TMG are playing out live, 40 years after their halcyon days is quite incredible – and something we should all be thankful for. Not just playing out though – for if you’ve seen them live on any of their handful of dates in the latter part of this year on their ‘This Ones For Ted’ tour – you will be all too aware that live, they are more than delivering the goods – and are killing it as a live unit. If you told me a few years back that TMG would be out and about playing live in 2016 sans Ted, I would have told you, “Not a snowball’s chance in hell, never in a million years”. Yet with Ted’s younger brother Steve Mulry out front – it all makes perfect sense.

I think the last time I saw TMG was at Promises at Sylvania, or somewhere in Sydney’s south in 1995 or 96 supporting Suzi Quatro. I remember thinking that Quatro was boring and TMG blew her away. Twenty years later, TMG are kicking major ass, and are one of the hottest live tickets doing the rounds right now.  Vocalist Steve Mulry  is certainly doing justice to the TMG material, and is singing his absolute heart out. I’m sure Ted is looking down on his brother and old band mates with a smiling nod of approval. Yep – they are more than doing justice to the TMG legacy – and with Steve out front – are adding to it. In fact, after seeing the band a couple of times on this current tour, I can say hand-on-heart that Steve is making the material well and truly his own. With Steve coming from a heavy rock background, TMG in 2016 are tougher sounding, more muscled up, and a tighter rocking unit. Part of that is due also to having rock solid Mark Evans of AC/DC on bass.


TMG – carving it up at Dee Why RSL 9/12/16 – photo (c) D. Gray

It is short sighted to pigeonhole or stereotype TMG as a ‘Countdown band’ or a band known for only ‘that song’. For some people, I’m sure the revival or nostalgia tag is a reason that gets them along to see the band, yet take my word for it – TMG have a depth and quality to their songs that have seen their material endure incredibly well over time. It’s the aforementioned reason though, (a misguided opinion shared by the mainstream who see the band as a one hit 70s teen band), that has precluded TMG from being inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame. It’s an injustice, and no doubt political, as to why TMG have not been inducted into the Hall Of Fame. It would be a just acknowledgement, yet at the end of the day who really cares. Who gives credence to this two-bit, self-serving organisation anyway? As someone who likes to think I know a little bit about rock ‘n’ roll, take my word for it instead when I tell you that TMG have several albums worth of memorable, original, catchy rock that has stood the test of time – and still sound killer. Great melodies, great choruses, great songs. Some of their best material in fact is off their last couple of albums, ‘Disturbing The Peace’ and ‘Locked In’.

Many of Australian biggest bands of the 70’s had a second bite of the cherry in the 90s (including John Paul Young via ‘Strictly Ballroom’ and Skyhooks in 1983 and 1990/91). Those that didn’t have this second run were given their dues as part of the Countdown concerts in the mid 2000s, with bands like Supernaut, Cheetah, Hush and of course Sherbet (arguably the biggest Australian band of the 70’s), reforming with both Clive Shakespeare and Harvey James on guitars. Ted’s passing in 2001 precluded TMG from taking part in the Countdown Concert series.  In the early part of the 90s though, TMG did do a bunch of shows and TV appearances a part of a short lived 70’s revival – including Hey Hey Its Saturday and 70’s themed nights. Yet to me, this early 1990’s revival of the Seventies music and culture, was more about having a swipe at the music and fashion of that period – and was taking the piss out of it. It was ‘daggy’, it was uncool – so that made it cool right?  Which really missed the point.  I dig Australian rock ‘n’ roll – it’s the best in the world. From AC/DC to Rose Tattoo, Skyhooks, The Angels, Screaming Jets, Screaming Tribesmen, Radio Birdman, Easybeats, Saints and all points in between – In my opinion, TMG are one of the best band’s this country has ever produced and in a just world, should have/could have been as big as AC/DC.

Mr Rockbrat and I have a connection with TMG rock n roll that still resonates to this day. I have fond memories of sitting in my brother’s bedroom playing the TMG Greatest Hits LP over and over again. Man, they sounded better than Slade, better than Quo. Listen to those killer riffs. A lot like AC/DC……AND they were a Sydney band, unlike Skyhooks or Taste (in those days friends, there was still a Sydney Melbourne rivalry). They lived in the suburb next to where I grew up. As kids, my brother and I used to see the TMG band truck everywhere (with Ronnie Roadie no doubt at the wheel). They were a hard rocking, hardworking band playing memorable, original hard edged rock n roll. What was not to like?


Rare West German & US TMG LP’s

Yet let’s get back to the present. Highlights from the current TMG show are many. ‘My Little Girl’ ‘Crazy’ ‘Wanted Man’, ‘Heart Of Stone’, ‘Lazy Eyes’, and ‘I’m Free’ to name a few of the highlights. Les Hall, as well as being one of this country’s most underrated guitar players, also wrote many TMG staples that have gone on to become Oz rock standards – people forget that fact. To see Les spitting out blistering solos in 2016 at stage left is a sight (and sound) to savour.  To hear Gary Dixon run through spot-on acoustic versions of ‘Julia’ and ‘Falling In Love Again’ is another highlight of the show, reminding you just how great these songs are, what an outstanding songwriter Ted was, and what an appealing voice Gary possesses. As guitar players who have had a major impact on Australian rock ‘n’ roll – both Gary Dixon and Les Hall are deserving of way more respect. They are rock ‘n’ roll personified. Drummer Herm Kovac, the backbone of TMG, keeps the beat and hits hard as he always does – Mr Reliable behind the kit. It’s always a joy to see Herm belting out the songs and keeping time. Unrelenting, no frills. The band deliver a ball busting rendition of AC/DC’s ‘It’s a Long Way To The Top’ that sends shivers down your spine. This is as close as you are gonna get to the vintage AC/DC sound- and as I’ve said before, these guys are Australian hard rock royalty – and deserve all the successes and accolades owed to them – more in fact.

TMG have a lineage that is entwined with AC/DC and what became known as the “Albert sound”.  They are the only ‘Alberts Band’ out there today playing with any real conviction.  Consider also that in 2016, other seventies band  like Sherbet, Hush, the original Angels, original Tatts etc will never ever be back – with so many of their key members now having sadly passed on. The starkness that TMG are the ONLY band of this ilk still out there doing it – and doing it bloody well, cannot be understated. When I saw TMG last weekend, Angry Anderson got up and belted out ‘Bad Boy For Love’ as an encore. Does it get any cooler than that in 2016? I think not. Rock fans in Europe would kill to see this kind of event. (Way more needs to be done in Australia to honour the legacy of Australia’s great hard rock bands from the 70s, bands that are revered overseas. There exists an ambivalence amongst the music industry, Government’s and the population at large towards bands from this era of Oz rock. Melbourne has AC/DC Lane? And Sydney ? The HOME of AC/DC and the Young’s. Why is Chequers a Chinese owned massage parlour? Why can’t Chequers revert to a rock venue akin to Melbourne ‘Cherry Bar?  Where is the statue to Thorpie? To Tattoo’s legacy? The attitude, the apathy at large is pretty apparent. Yet I’ve digressed. These are issues for another time).

TMG in 2016 are one lean, hard rocking band firing on all cylinders – playing material from the 1970s that sounds relevant and vital, and one can only hope that this recharged line up of TMG enter the studio to release some new material. TMG in 2016 is not revivalism. This is not nostalgia. This is a kick ass rock ‘n’ roll band – the last of their kind. Get out there and see them whilst you can.  If you only see one show in 2017 –make it TMG. Satisfaction guaranteed.  Go to the band’s web site for details of upcoming shows in 2017.

Check out Episode 62 of the Australian Rock Show – An interview with Steve Mulry, Rick Lum from Hush and TMG fans conducted at the Ted Mulry Memorial Day 3/9/16 here

Check out Episode 42 of the Australian Rock Show – An interview with Ronald Clayton  – TMG’s long time roadie (you can meet Ronnie at any of the current TMG shows at the merch table). Listen here

Rockbrat Wonders – Why TMG Are not in the ARIA Hall Of Fame

ARS58_largeOn episode 58 of The Australian Rock Show we crank hot n heavy new tunage from Airbourne and get blown sky high with some classic AC/DC. Scott Ginn (ex-Boss) has re-mastered and re-issued his ‘One Man Army’ album from 1986 – which also cops an airing, as does his late 80’s outfit Rags n Riches. We crank the new 45 from The Iceman – Deniz Tek and also check out the newie from Johnny Kannis – which has guest vox from Jimmy Barnes. We pay tribute to Steve Crofts, look over upcoming gig dates, share the rock news and much much more. Play loud ! LISTEN or download HERE!

Music by: Airbourne, AC/DC, Scott Ginn, Rags n Riches, T.M.G, Owen Campbell, Deniz Tek, Johnny Kannis, The Bombers

Almost 12 years since the passing of the late, great Ted Mulry, the campaign to have TMG included in the ARIA Hall Of Fame continues. Here’s a clip conrtaining various footage of Ted to remind you of how great Ted was (and still is). If you would to read more about how you can help to get TMG in the Hall of Fame – read here

ImageQuestion: Who were the biggest rock bands being played through the transistor radio of Aussie teenagers in the mid-70s ? Answer is Sherbet, T.M.G, John Paul Young, AC/DC and Skyhooks. Sure you can include other names, but essentially – the years 1974 – 1978 belonged to those five.

All five – with the exception of the Ted Mulry Gang (or T.M.G as they were also known) – have been inducted into the Aria’s Hall of Fame. I will hold back my opinion on the relevance of the Hall of Fame but let’s say I take the whole thing with a large grain of salt….I mean, bands like Radio Birdman and the Saints were very much ignored by the mainstream Australian media back in the day, yet are now recognized as iconic rock n roll ground breakers and get their names on the hallowed trophy ?!  Cool man. Who’s next ? That irrelevant little twerp Ben Lee ? Dave Graney ? Tim Freedman ? P-lease. T.M.G were one of the hardest working and most popular live acts which Australia ever produced, they sold thousands of records and to not include them in the Hall of Fame really is an outrage. How can The Dingoes be in the Hall of Fame over TMG ? or The  Models and Jo Jo Zep ? Gimme a break. Jo Jo Zep’s biggest two hits – the bland-sounding and retarded ‘Hit and Run and Shape I’m In’ only reached #12 and  #22 on the Australian charts respectively ! TMG released 15 odd singles. ‘Jump In My Car’ stayed at the #1 spot for six consecutive weeks. Darktown Strutters Ball hit #3. Yet Jo Jo Zep get into this hallowed club before Ted and the boys ?! Actually let’s take a look at the criteria for being inducted  into this elusive club of cool:

The Hall of Fame recognises four categories of music – pop/rock, jazz, classical and country;
OK – TMG clearly fit into the pop/rock category. Next.

The nominees’ careers must have commenced, and ideally achieved significant prominence, at least 20 years prior to the year of proposed induction;
1975/76/77 were the band’s most prominent and commercially successful years. So, since 1997, the band have been eligible for nomination. Next

Membership into the Hall of Fame is reserved exclusively for the creators of recorded music – the writers, the recording artists, and in some cases, the producers;
Got it. That would be T.Mulry, L.Hall, G.Dixon and H.Kovac. Next

The nominees must be responsible for a significant body of recorded work;
I am tempted to include the six single releases frontman Mulry released before TMG (and his great solo album from the late 90′s – but will refrain from doing so. Just file it away – as those amazing achievements deserved to be recognized)


Sunday Evenings / Here we are Mar 1975 Albert AP10689
Jump in my car / I’m on fire Sep 1975 Albert AP10830
Darktown Strutters Ball / She’s for me Feb 1976 Albert AP11004
Crazy / Help me out Jun 1976 Albert AP11118
Stepping out / It’s all over now Oct 1976 Albert AP11241
Jamaica Rum / Wanted man Jan 1977 Albert AP11305
My little girl / You’ve got it May 1977 Mushroom K6811
Sha La La Lee / Naturally Sep 1977 Mushroom K6898
Lazy Eyes / Set me free Mar 1978 Mushroom K7070
Heart of stone / I miss you Jul 1978 Mushroom K7180
You’ve got the devil in you / Disturbing the peace Nov 1978 Mushroom K7315
Save me / How long Feb 1980 Mushroom K7805
Can’t take it all / Home to you May 1980 Mushroom K7925
Captured / I’m down Sep 1980 Mushroom K
Old Habits / Rock and Roll 1990 CBS Albert 656192-7

Studio Albums:

Here we are Nov 1974 Albert APLP007
Struttin’ Jan 1976 Albert APLP018
Stepping out Nov 1976 Albert APLP021
The TMG Album 1977 Mushroom L36273
Disturbing the peace Apr 1978 Mushroom L36619
Locked In 1980 Mushroom L37178

Fifteen singles – Six albums. I would say that is a ‘significant body of recorded work’. Next.

The nominees work to have had a cultural impact within Australia and/or recognition within the world marketplace.
Hmm (Mr Rockbrat scratches head). A cultural impact ? Would the Models have had a cultural impact ? (cough) or the long irrelevant Saints (name me anything of note which Chris Bailey has released in the last twenty years ?). Would previous inductees like Richard Clapton or Split Enz have had a ‘cultural impact’. Since when does a band formed in Auckland get an Australian award anyway ? Whatever. Mulry emigrated here in the late 60′s – and immediately had an impact on the Australian music scene shortly after his arrival via his radio hit ‘Julia’..followed by ‘Falling In Love Again’ the following year. That is remarkable…..and besides the thousands of 70′s Aussie teenagers who adored TMG and bought their records, there are the thousands of pub goers who took in live gigs in the late 70s, early 80”s and indeed the early 90′s. Tunes like Jump in my car, Darktown Strutters Ball and Crazy are still heard on Classic Rock radio stations around Australia, and there are many younger kids online who are hooked on TMG. Need I also mention that in 2006, David Hasselhoff’s cover of TMG’s Jump in My Car went to #3 on the UK charts ?!. Besides the in-roads which the band themselves made outside of Australia in the 70′s, Hassellhoff introduced that song to a whole new audience. Box ticked.

To summarize, TMG meet every criterion which the people at the Australian Recording Industry Association have laid out for induction. In 2013, there is no reason why this iconic Australian rock band – led by the much missed Ted Mulry – are not in the Hall Of Fame.

There is a petition online which you should sign. TMG’s recognition is long overdue

Get Flared Concert Ad 7 4 90In 1990 (in Sydney at least), there was a revival of sorts, of some of Australia’s seventies bands, including JPY, TMG, William Shakespeare etc. Looking back, I think this in part was due to a couple of things.  One was the prevalence of cover bands like Bjorn Again and the start of the whole Abba revival, and second, was due in part to Sydney DJ Maynard F# Crabbes, a radio presenter on JJJ. Maynard’s shtick was being into things that were decidedly uncool, or ‘daggy’, to coin the apt phrase. Dressed like an archetypal nerd, he even called himself the ‘King Of Dag’. Anything daggy was cool right? So of course, some Aussie rock bands of the 70’s fell neatly under his dag radar, more so due to their fashion sense than anything else no doubt.  So Maynard built up quite a profile for himself, and used to DJ and host dance parties etc. One such event he MC’d was a night at Sydney’s Coogee Bay Hotel (one of my least favourite venues) called ‘Get Flared”. (Didn’t Hush have a jingle tune of this name, for Colonial Jeans in the early 70’s? Hang on, where my Skylab helmet? Some of my ants have escaped.) Being a devotee of Aussie rock and Ted fans, Mr. Rockbrat and I went along show some respect, the sole reason to see TMG. Armed with my trusty tape recorder, I bootlegged TMG’s 30 minute set, which included a great version of ‘Naturally’ and a surprising version of Fogerty’s ‘Rockin’ All Over The World’. Was Gary Dixon there ? Did he play in any of these reunion shows ?  Most of the other acts were fairly lacklustre, although JPY was pretty good from memory. JPY’s big revival would come two years later due to “Love Is in the Air”, being the theme song for the film Strictly Ballroom, and the massive amount of exposure generated as a result. He got a second throw of the dice. It was only a few short years before this that he was singing theme songs to Australia’s Wonderland theme park. (Have you still got that Rockbrat?) I recall seeing him  one forgetful occasion in 1988 at North Sydney’s late night meat market pick up den, Sheila’s, with several single, leathery old bags on the prowl for drunken romance. Anyway, I digress. The other acts ? I can’t really recall. I think that Bjorn Again headlined the event. I’m pretty sure that poor old William Shakespeare, may he rest in peace, was happy just to be up there singing his two god awful hits, and thankfully he didn’t disgrace himself by dressing up like a purple sequined lizard-like Liberace as  he did in the early 70s. I also recall seeing an old TMG fan in the crowd wearing a satin TMG concert jacket, chatting with Herm Kovac. The other clear memory I have of the Get Flared night was seeing a very awkward looking Bumble Bee donning a full length, blond wig. FMD – sexual orientation issues anyone? With those cherubic cheeks, and looking very much like a pint sized Agnetha in drag, I’d prefer to recollect the only highlight of the night, TMG’s rockin’ 30 minutes set. Attached is an audio clip of the TMG, performing ‘Naturally’, live at Selinas, on the 7th of April, 1990. Never been heard anywhere. From the Rockbrat archives. Enjoy!  Listen here  



The TMG Book. 1976 was certainly a golden year for the Ted Mulry Gang (TMG) with records in the Top 10, national tours and albums moving out the door faster than a Jeff Thomson bouncer. Their record label Albert Records went so far as to capitalise on their success with publication of this, the TMG Book. I found it the other day whilst rummaging around the bookshelf and though I’d share it, as many Ted fans may not know of its existence. It’s 50 pages and contain music notation for about 10 or so of the band’s songs – and it’s also stacked with many great article and interviews and profiles on each band member, and many photos (both colour and b/w). I was a big TMG fan, and was fortunate to have met Ted on a couple of occasions. I have his autograph maybe 3 times too, a signed 8 x 10, and a signed copy of the ‘Struttin’ album. I also have some pretty cool foreign TMG pressings as well, including a white vinyl Dutch LP. Anyway, here is the book. Enjoy.